Saved By The Wolves
A Short Story by Isabella Alvarez
How long had she been here? Eternity. She remembered the excitement she’d felt that morning, the crisp air slapping at her cheeks, glistening auburn hair pulled back in a tight braid, puffs of air shooting out in front of her. She remembered the way her sneakers became damp with the morning dew, how the shadows of the forest hadn’t worried her. How she was amazed at her quick getaway.
She thought of the shimmering rays of light that peeked through the cracks in the tightly woven curtain of pine trees, with their earthy smell and feel. She remembered the thoughts that had raced through her mind: the wolves! I have to show everyone the wolves. She thought, disgusted at her self, of how she’d only looked up, towards the dawn sun, missing the crack in the ground right in front of her, half concealed by bronze autumn leaves.
Then the girl had fallen through, into a cave that she couldn’t seem to get out of. All she had were two blankets, a dying flashlight, and a box of granola bars. She didn’t know how far she’d fallen, or anything about the cave.
For a sound, a light, anything. All she could hear was the heavy breathing coming from herself, an occasional rustle from her clothing being swished by the wind, and a constant drip from the water that came from an unseen crack above her head.
She knew she’d be driven out of her mind very soon. She couldn’t survive, and the granola bars weren’t going to last forever. Days passed, perhaps a week, and she grew weaker. She barely had the strength to unwrap the last of her granola bars and chew and swallow it.
About a week and a half had passed when she woke up from an uneasy ‘night’ of sleep. The girl opened her eyes to see two gleaming emerald circles staring at her. With a jolt of her heart she realized they were eyes.
Who, or maybe what, did they belong to?
Cautiously, she reached into backpack and pulled out the dim, flickering flashlight. The single shaft of light illuminated a rather furry figure.
“Oh,” she breathed, and slowly powered the flashlight off. “Oh.” She huddled against the corner in a fetal position, whimpering; the last bit of any strength within her diminished.
The wolf advanced. The girl froze.
Suddenly, the wolf threw back its long muzzle, and let out a savage cry. It was echoed by the cave, but then continued past its natural fade-away point; it was eternal.
At first the girl was confused. What was going on? What was this wolf trying to do? She looked up, and then it hit her: they, the wolves, were showing her a path out of the cave!
A neat path of glowing eyes revealed the perfect way to escape from the cave. “Thank you,” the girl whispered, staring into the wolf’s eyes as she feebly got up, shakily put her meager belongings in her backpack, and slowly but steadily began to follow the eyes and the echo.
The girl climbed, and become more confident as she did. She placed her feet carefully and quickly onto each rock or jutting-out boulder, and ignored the stinging pain that buzzed around her knees and elbows as she crawled on the gravely ground. She grew to love the echo with all her heart, and to find solace in every pair of eyes.
It took a while to make it to the top, and once she was there, she looked down on the now-silent wolves. She stared into each of their eyes and made a silent promise: she would never tell anyone about the wolves.
The girl pulled herself out of the slit with her last bit of strength and collapsed onto the crunchy leaves. As she world began to fade into inky darkness, she could hear, “We found her!” And maybe, just maybe, she might’ve heard a solemn parting howl.